I'm sure you're all aware by now that I used to swim. While I only swam 1 year of collegiate swimming, it's given me lessons and friendships that will last a lifetime and I'll always be extremely grateful for that. Getting recruited and coming to an entirely new state was a lot at first but having a team to come to Utah for made it so much easier and it truly felt like a family. Obviously, I'm no longer swimming but I am surrounded by swimmers and former swimmers all the time so it's still a part of my life. I've even got an olympic swimmer in my immediate family.
This meet was especially significant because it was the senior meet (the last duel meet at home for the senior class), and it was the senior meet for my class. It was really great seeing all of the people I started this experience with compete at home one final time. Honestly, I knew I was never going to swim for all four years but it always makes me nostalgic coming back to the pool and watching them race. I was never really good at practicing (I hated it and all of my teammates will attest to that) but I loved competing.
The identity crisis that ensues after you've finished your sport is kind of jarring. I realized that even though I was so done with swimming, it's still how I defined myself and I was a little lost for a while. I have found that it's important to look forward to something afterwards. Starting a different sport can help, a lot of people I know turned to crossfit or olympic weightlifting. I started to box and while it's an insane workout the team aspect isn't there. It's a hard transition and leaving a team environment can be a struggle.
Currently, I have all but gotten over not being a swimmer/athlete and I can personally say that it's a long process and it's important to have supportive people around you and something outside of the sport to look forward to. With that being said, I don't think it's possible to ever not be an athlete after doing it for so long. I think it's always in us to be competitive and push ourselves (sometimes to a fault). So trying new sports and new ways to exercise becomes kind of a treat because I never had the time to try anything else, and now I do!
But for now I'm so proud of my former teammates and I'm so glad these were the people I got to swim with in college.
* Also, there was a bellyflop contest at the end of the meet and it was hilarious.